Many of us have certain traditions, or urban myths, passed down to us from previous generations on how to fix problems that arise in our daily lives. These myths range from how to best cure the flu, or what to do when a skunk sprays you. But what about when it comes to plumbing? Of course like anything in life, over the years myths have been passed down on how to best deal with pesky plumbing problems. Although, some of these myths may have had some truth to them at one time, that may not be the case today. Sorry to bust your bubble, but get ready to be debunked; here are the most common plumbing myths:
Drain Cleaners are Safe for Clogs
Many homeowners reach for a bottle of drain cleaner when their sink or toilet backs up. While these toxic chemicals can sometimes dissolve drain obstructions, they usually do more harm than good. Drain cleaners can corrode metal pipes and chew through plastic. Homes with older pipes that might already suffer from rust are at an even greater risk of damage. If the chemicals don’t manage to eat a hole in your pipes, they can also weaken the adhesives that hold them together.
In addition to the hazards drain cleaners pose on your pipes, they are dangerous for humans, animals, and the environment. The fumes alone have the potential to cause illness. And to top it all off, drain cleaners don’t always work. If the clog is due to something easily dissolved, such as hair or food matter, then they might do the trick. However, larger blockages won’t always budge and may require an experienced Las Vegas plumber.
Eggshells are Good for Garbage Disposals
While garbage disposals can come in very handy, they have limitations. Few homeowners consider what they grind up in their sinks. One big myth that has plagued plumbers is that eggshells keep garbage disposal blades sharp. The blades of a garbage disposal are strong, but not knife-like as many people believe. Ice or eggshells are unlikely to improve garbage disposal function. In fact, they might damage this helpful household appliance. The tough and flexible membrane of an eggshell can sometimes wind around the blades, slowing them down or even jamming them completely. Ice can also be too harsh.
Other items to keep away from the disposal include grease and fats, bones, seeds, non-food items such as paper, and tough materials like corn husks. Even coffee grinds can clog up the works. Disposing of improper items can lead to blocked pipes, a damaged disposal, insect infestations, and the dreaded smelly drain.
Save Water with a Brick
With water-saving toilets being more common, many homeowners with older houses might seek a cheaper alternative to installing a new fixture. Enter the tank brick, a low-cost “green” solution. There are a few problems with this method. Bricks eventually dissolve in water, breaking apart as they do. The free floating particles can damage the toilet tank and pipes. While some people suggest wrapping the brick to maintain its integrity, that can also backfire. The wrap can become loose and get caught in the tank, creating additional problems. The whole theory behind this is if you place a brick, or any large/dense object in your toilet tank, your toilet will use less water because of the water displacement caused by the brick or object.
While putting something heavy in the tank might save a bit of water, the risks don’t outweigh the benefits. If installing a low flow toilet is not an option, it might be best to try other water-saving techniques in the meantime.
Many products claim to be toilet flush friendly—wipes, sanitary items, and even some cat litter brands. Flushing one or two wipes down the toilet is not likely to cause an issue, but over time these materials can collect and create backups. Because these materials tend to be tougher than toilet paper, chemical drain cleaners or plunging alone might not be powerful enough to dislodge them. To avoid having to call out a plumber, maintain the health of your pipes by only flushing down waste and tissue paper.
And just as a side note: don’t ever flush cat litter down the toilet, despite what the box may say.
Leaks Are Normal
It is easy to dismiss a drippy faucet or a wet patch under the sink. As long as the toilet flushes and the water runs hot, most people ignore these seemingly minor issues. Small leaks, though, often lead to larger problems. Not only can they be costly over time, but a leak can be a sign of a weak pipe.
Leaks also cause unseen issues such as lowering water pressure, warping wood, and encouraging mold. Many of these issues won’t be evident until they become huge headaches. Prompt attention to even small leaks will save your more money in the long run.
If you are experiencing plumbing problems, and in need of an experienced Las Vegas plumber, make sure to contact us anytime! And don’t worry about what time of day it is, we have a 24 hour plumber on staff ready to help you fix your plumbing issues.